Leadership Team

Richard Bennett, CEO

Richard started his career with General Electric commercialising technology in Asia. He was a founder of J2 Inc (NASDAQ:JCOM) and has held various board positions in technology and energy companies including NED and chairman of the audit committee for China New Energy (AIM:CNEL), CEO of Coms plc (AIM:REDS) and director of VI plc.

Manoj Erra, Director

Manoj Erra is a Management Graduate from Cranfield School of Management UK. He has over 20 years experience in International Business and was involved in Operational Change Management projects in UK, US and Asia. He has over 7 years experience in running biofuel and natural extracts projects in Asia and also involved in agriculture projects in Asia and Africa, involving out-growers.  He is a Director of Terravana Group, a multi-national Agri Group involved in fertilizer production, seeds research and production, bio technology, nutraceuticals and farm management. Currently he is also a director on a Malaysian based palm milling business house, with milling interests in Malaysia and Indonesia.  

Andrew Gee, Transition Director Sierra Leone

Andy started his career with the UK Inland Revenue and has more than 25 years corporate finance experience. Subsequently, he founded Business Valuation Services, a subsidiary of UBS. More recently he was a partner at the valuation consultancy NTNA and non-executive director of Global Lock China (AIM:GLOK) and chairman of their audit committee. He is currently a partner in Charlestown Investments, a Swiss based investment company.

John T. E. Mapondera, Director Zimbabwe

John, is the co-founder of Locan Holdings which over the past ten years has been principally involved in infrastructure development in the water sector and has mobilised resources to address the water problems facing the City of Harare through Public Private Partnerships. He was an Executive Director of the Lonrho Group, responsible for its automotive and industrial Divisions and also partnered with the French infrastructure development group VINCI Construction Grande Project and the leading South African Consulting group, Bigen Africa for development of water infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe. John graduated from University College London in Anthropology, and obtained a DIA from the University of Bath Business School and Sociology MPhil Graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science. PhD Research Fellow and advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Public Policy on Institutional response to the demands of a multi-ethnic Britain until 1980 when he returned to Zimbabwe.

Dr Ian Robertson, Senior Agronomist Zimbabwe

Dr Ian Robertson is responsible for cassava development at the University of Harare in Zimbabwe. His academic team have conducted extensive research into growing cassava in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Dr Robertson will be responsible for overseeing the breeding of high-yielding varieties of cassava that are suitable for the soil and climate conditions in Zambia. He will work closely with the IITA to produce the necessary planting materials for our sustainable feedstock program.

Nicholas Bridges, Director Zambia

Nick was born in the UK and raised on the Zambian Copperbelt. He has for the past 30 years been involved with a cross section of industry throughout the region, namely Zambia,Zimbabwe,Kenya, DRC and South Africa. He has a long-standing business background as an entrepreneur, particularly as a founder and proprietor of companies supplying and manufacturing process chemicals for the mining industry and trading agricultural commodities and chemicals to the farming sector. A founding shareholder and director of African Business Solutions Ltd, a London based company primarily focused on promoting business to business trade opportunities to and from Africa, corporate advisory services, mining and agricultural projects and infrastructure development.

Joan Craven, Director Zambia

Mrs Craven has more tan 40 years of experience in the finance sector, including as chief accountant at coopers and Lybrand. Mrs Craven’s qualifications include: Member of the Association of International Accountants. Mrs Craven’s memberships include: Member of the Institute of Directors of Zambia and Member of the Ndola Chamber of Commerce.

Allan Xu, Project Manager

Allan graduated from South China Science & Tech University with a degree in Chemical Machinery. He is on assignment from CNE and is responsible for engineering project management. He has held many of project manager positions in Chemical Processing Plants Projects in China and overseas. He was the lead project manager for Thai the Ubon Bio Energy project. He has achieved his chemical machinery engineer qualification in 2013 and he has over 10 years of experience in alcohol and bio energy industry.